It's been a bit of a week. On top of all the usual seasonal craziness, work, family life and everything, our washing machine died on Tuesday night. It's been playing up for some time. (It probably died from overuse, poor thing.) This is annoying and inconvenient, but my lovely mum has been doing washing for me, even returning it dried and ironed. She's a star. Then, on Wednesday night, our boiler stopped working. It's old and we feared the worst, and have known since we bought this house that it would need replacing soon. But a Christmas without heating? Not very cosy. Luckily a gas fitter was able to come out quickly and it's ok, it just needs a new part and, fingers crossed, should be fixed on Tuesday, the same day as the new washing machine is delivered. Things happened in threes, we joked, what would be next? Well, yesterday afternoon, as the rain hammered down outside, I heard a funny, irregular tapping noise in the dining room. What could that be I wondered, and looked up to find water coming in through the roof and slowly dripping onto the floor. Buckets were fetched. I left a message on the roofer's voicemail - we had a new roof only a year ago - and rang John, although he was at work so I don't know what I thought he could do about any of this. At this point I may have thrown all my toys out of the pram and had a bit of a cry. Anyway, the roofer called me back that evening, bless him, and is coming round first thing Monday morning. We think some lead flashing has come loose around the chimney as that's where the water is coming in. It's all fixable. Stressful, yes, but ultimately it will be fine.
Anyway, what with all that I've really had to dig deep to find any kind of Christmas cheer, normally something I am brimming with. I usually love Christmas. We went to the garden centre last weekend and chose a tree. I always engineer visits to this particular place because I know they stock pink poinsettias, which I really do love. The pink petals with those dark, almost blue-green leaves are so pretty. I wrestled lights onto the tree and then the children hung decorations. So far we've only lost three to the dog, a huge improvement on last year. Bella commented that our ramshackle, mismatched collection of tree ornaments is starting to look a bit worn out, and I think she's right. I might have to invest in more. I enjoyed hanging my striped crochet stockings on the peg rail though, and gave the round shelf in the dining room a little wintry change of display.
Our Christmas activity advent calendar has given us a steady stream of festive things to do: make paper chains, make and write Christmas cards, bake mince pies, dry orange slices for garlands, stamp our wrapping paper. I'm thankful for this actually, because rather than send me into a spin of things to do, they are small, easily achieved tasks that ground me in this season, which is just what I need at the moment.
We have just five more days at work and school before we break up for the holidays. It's going to be an exceptionally busy week as we'll be celebrating Bella's birthday along with all the usual end of term busyness, plus my usual panic over handmade gifts and whether or not they will be ready in time. But I think we're going to be okay; most of the shopping is done, cards have been posted, gifts for teachers, colleagues etc sorted. There's just the small matter of a washing machine, boiler and roof to be sorted and we're all good.